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Our First House Guests

So it's been a while, I know, but many things have transpired in the last several weeks that required my utmost attention. Foremost was the World Cup, of course, which involved many game viewings and subsequently many beer or Weißweinshorle drinking opportunities.

Then I started more Deutsch classes again which means I've been in class four and a half hours a day, five days a week, for one month (so viel Deutsch!). Then my husband and I finally moved out of the temporary apartment we were staying in to our permanent apartment here in Berlin. We are now officially living in Prenzlauer Berg, among all the children, new Moms, cool coffee shops, and organic grocery stores (they're organic but they're still horrible—I'll tell you about that in another post). And the latest bit of news is that our belongings that we shipped via cargo ship from San Francisco back in March finally arrived here last week. For some reason, what takes humans about 10 hours to accomplish via plane apparently takes us 288 times as long via ship. Who knew?! Perhaps you're wondering why we even bothered shipping anything when it took so long and we could've just sold everything and then bought new stuff in Berlin. And to that, my friends, I would say, 'Touché' or 'Yes, you're right, that would've been a better plan'. So, basically, we're learning many things about moving to a new country. And now we're learning many things about the Ikeas in Berlin, like how you can enjoy a mediocre salad with lox, a bread roll with the same texture as a brand new loofah, and a full-bodied Weißerburgunder before or after you shop (again, maybe more on that in another post).

Finally getting to unpack our stuff has been ironic as now that we've been without all of this stuff for four months, we've pretty much forgotten about all of it and have gotten very good at being without it. And now that it is here we've realized we definitely didn't need to put it on a boat and have it shipped halfway across the world. Approximately ten reusable grocery bags from Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc? Nope, we didn't need to pack all of those. Bath towels that I've had since college? Nope, moving to a new continent is probably a perfect reason to buy ne ones I would say. Halloween costumes to enjoy in a country that doesn't celebrate Halloween? Nope, those could've stayed in the USA. Three fanny packs? This one is more complicated because I find fanny packs to be quite functional and each one of these specific fanny packs is specialized for a different function: one for hiking, one for running, and one for dancing. Clearly all three needed to travel down the coast of North America, through the Panama Canal, across the entire North Atlantic Ocean, 51,000 nautical miles to be here with me in Germany. Again, we're learning and screwing this up so you don't have to.

Though, some of the stuff I was truly missing; I finally have a kitchen with my cast iron skillet, Japanese mandolin, and Kosher salt. We have a real bed, a kitchen table, and ceramic mugs (we were using two enamel mugs from a flea market). My camping stuff is here, ready to explore the German forests and Alps, and my Dansko clogs have arrived and are ready to get back to work being very comfortable while simultaneously making me look like a fashion victim. We have some of our old life here now and it feels nice. As we are unpacking and nesting in our new spot, I've been on the look out for some home-y touches, things that are from here and for our new lives here. I've been on a house plant kick because I think they are underrated and can make an otherwise basic house feel more like a home... or at least make your pathetic existence feel more relevant when you don't have kids or pets. I forfeited our California houseplants to our roommate we had to kick out when we told him we were moving (sorry and you're welcome Henry!). Giving them up was a bit sad for me as I had always thought I would accidentally kill any house plants I owned (there were definitely a few casualties before I got the hang of it) so I was very proud of the fact that I had somehow kept the remaining crew of about seven alive (my thumbs are just caucasian). In the past four months during our transient, homeless time, I've resisted the urge to buy any plants as buying them without having a proper domicile felt irresponsible and negligent, and I'm not a monster. They would also just be one more thing to move once we did find a place, and most importantly, I knew full well that I wouldn't be able to buy just one. For me having houseplants is like getting tattoos, just one looks stupid and once you start you can't stop. I didn't want to open the flood gates without having a proper home for said plants. So now that we have a home, I've invested 9€ on our first pair. I would like to introduce you to our first house guests:

This is Calathea oranatan (left) and Epipremnum aureum (right). They are both faring well after the tram right home from Berlin's version of Home Deport, which is weirdly called Hellweg which means "bright way". They seem happy in our new home and love the view of the Fernsehturm. According to Wikipedia, the Epipremnum aureum should be a good plant for me because as it's Devil's Ivy nickname would suggest, it's "impossible to kill". We shall see about that.

The Calathea however should be very easy to kill because it's beautiful and I like it a lot making it a prime candidate for accidental-over-watering-out-of-sheer-love-and-house-plant-having-enthusiasm. The Calathea has beautiful, dark green leaves with a crazy, pink pinstripe pattern on them. It looks like someone took a paintbrush to each leaf.

Also, apparently Calatheas are from the jungles of South America which does not bode well for my hopes of keeping it alive seeing as how I do not live in a jungle but rather in Berlin. Incredibly Relevant Side Note: the German word for jungle is Dschungel. Say that out loud and then try not to roll your eyes (again, the fact that the Germans decided to swap one consonant for four in succession is clearly another blog post waiting to happen).

So that is the latest from Berlin right now. Our home is coming together bit by bit and I feel pretty excited to have some greenery to fret about back in my life. And now that the house-plant-gates have swung ajar, there's little stopping me from growing a lush, primeval forest in our apartment, like a set from Jurassic Park, but with less dinosaurs and dead goats. So if you have any suggestions for houseplants that are relatively hard to kill, let me know! I would love your input as I'm so excited to finally have place to attempt to keep living things living with my white lady thumbs once again.


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